Hardwood floor in basement cupping

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Q: My basement was finished by the previous owners about 30 years ago, and they put down hardwood floors, possibly directly on the concrete. The boards have bowed up in a large section in the center of the floor, and you can bounce on them.

The floors slope down to the perimeter of the basement, where all the edges are holding fast under the wood paneling on the walls. There is no damage to the wood floors, although there is some separation between floor boards, but this is very limited.

I’m wondering if I could level the floor by cutting out a a small strip of the floor along the wall that is perpendicular to the floor boards, and by removing one line of floor boards in the other direction so that it has room to spread out and sink back down. If so, what can be done to prevent further bowing? I really do not want to rip up the entire floor!

A: I’m not really encouraged by this one. There is only one thing that can cause excessive cupping or bowing and that is moisture. You really have to find the source and cause of that problem or your floors are going to be toast.

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